Happy 2019, everyone! I love the possibility that comes with the turn of any calendar page, especially an entirely new year, and as I write this I’m feeling focused, determined, and excited for what 2019 will bring. If you’ve promised yourself that this will be the year that you finally tackle all of your organization woes, you’ve come to the right place! Not knowing where to start can be the hardest part of any big change, so in the hopes of easing those first steps forward I’ve rounded up my top five organizing essentials:
1. Trash bags
This is definitely the least glamorous essential of the bunch, but trash bags are my number one because chances are you’ve got some on-hand and ready to go - look at you, winning already! When a space feels particularly daunting, gathering up anything that clearly belongs in the trash or recycling bin is the easiest way to get started. It involves little to no decision-making effort, plus you’ll immediately feel a bit better about the state of things and can use that as motivation to keep plugging away. Trash bags are also a great way to start corralling items for donation, easily loaded into the trunk of your car for a quick drop-off run at the end of your decluttering session.
*TJS Tip: Don’t dawdle when it comes to getting donation items out of your house - you’ll be amazed at how much lighter and accomplished you’ll feel when you knock out that final step!
2. Clear bins
Being able to see exactly what you have on-hand, whether it’s in your pantry, your closet, or even your garage, is important for a few reasons. First, no more over-buying: when you can easily see exactly how many gift bags or tubes of toothpaste you’ve got stashed away, you’ll be far less likely to pick up more “just in case” during your next Target run. On the flip-side, if you’re running low on a particular item - say, cereal or a craft or office supply - you’ll be able to easily distinguish when it’s time to add to your shopping list. Secondly, clear bins make it that much easier to identify exactly where items belong at the end of the day (even more so when you add in my #5 essential - more on that below!). In particular, I love using clear bins in pantries, for long-term storage items such as keepsakes or off-season clothing, and for helping pre-reading kiddos know exactly where to put away their smaller toys.
3. Wall/door units and hooks
I’m maybe not-so-secretly trying to see if I can work this mantra into every single blog post I write, but it’s seriously so true and so good - take advantage of vertical space! Whether it’s with an over-the-door organizer, stacking baskets, an entire shelving unit, or simple hooks, organizing upwards takes pressure off of other prime real estate spots. I keep several sizes of Command Hooks in my professional organizer toolkit at all times because you never know when you might discover a pocket of usable space on the back of a door (one of my favorite client solutions last year was freeing up precious kitchen drawer space by hanging measuring cups on the inside of the door we’d designated as the new baking cabinet) or on a previously unnoticed sliver of wall.
Baskets are a great containment option when both function and style are important, adding warmth and texture while also pulling in your personal decor preferences. Having talked more than one friend through a Container Store-induced anxiety attack, I know a lot of people tend to struggle with which type of basket to choose out of the overwhelming number of available options, My best advice is to 1) make sure you’ve decluttered first so that you truly know what you actually need to store or contain, 2) measure the length, width, height, and depth of your space (twice!) and have those notes handy when shopping, and 3) listen to your gut and trust your own taste!
Which brings us to my organization MVP - labels! One of the keys to actually maintaining any organizational system is making sure that items are returned to their designated homes when not in use, and there’s no better way to make that crystal clear than with a label. For a little extra oomph, I love using Kraft paper gift tags or chalkboard tape (which can be easily cut to size and wiped clean as contents change), but, at the end of the day, nothing beats my trusty label maker.
I hope that these favorites have given you some inspiration and a foundation for starting your organizing journey! The most important organizing essential, more than any bin or basket or label, is your mindset. Remember to keep it simple, give yourself grace, and hold tight to your Why - the rest will fall into place!